It is quite obvious to those involved in improving Shorewood's Business District and promoting its opportunities as well as to its dedicated observers that the basic economy of the commercial district does not exist in a vacuum.
We have seen the negative effects that the conditions of the national and local economies are having on our attempts to develop and to improve the commercial condition of both of our main streets, Capitol and Oakland.
Short-term occupancy and repeated re-occupancy of some small stores has been evidenced. And an increasing number of “for-rent signs” are now making their appearance as well. Our local government's efforts at redevelopment of some sites by actual public acquisition and third-party property involvement with private developers in acquiring property over the past several years have been put on hold.
Boarded up buildings and sloppy condominium “for sale signs” do not add to the attraction of our business district, no matter how good our promotional efforts are. We need to upgrade these situations as they detract and greatly contrast with the physical improvements we have already made.
Both the Community Development Authority and the Business Improvement District of Shorewood should take some action to upgrade these situations.
We cannot standby and do nothing. The Schwartz's Book Store will have the darked windows of a closed business in about 5 weeks. We should be talking to Roundy's about some way that we can maintain a viable appearing frontage for that building before it is vacated.
I've seen little evidence on the part of the Village to do anything to maintain a bookstore there or to prepare for the site's actual function after the bookstore leaves. It seems that an official negative attitude will only bring on a more discouraging situation.
The president of the Village Board, and the chairmen of both CDA and BID should get together and announce what is to be done with this property in the immediate future. We should show signs of activity. This of course will require talks with representatives from Roundy's. Perhaps they may know how to keep that space functioning in a positive way.
We must do everything possible under today's economic conditions to show that Shorewood is not giving up. That in spite of everything, we can show some signs of improved appearance and progress.
Let's focus on the bookstore location as an example of the positive effort that we are making.